Takedown Festival 2012 Roundup

By on Thursday, 22nd March 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

As the spring sunshine battles with the traditional drizzle in the early afternoon, Southampton University is awash with music fans young and old for the all-day party that is Takedown. With an obvious leaning toward the heavier end of the spectrum, 30 bands from across the UK take over four stages set up between two of the university buildings, both of which come equipped with a bar that never empties throughout the next 10 hours.

Opening the Big Deal stage are local pop-punkers Forever Can Wait. Fronted by the delightful Tash Crump, the band’s infectious set of upbeat party poppers are kept aloft by Crump’s energetic stage antics. Tracks ‘Walking on Wasted Time’ and ‘Rest’ get the modest crowd bobbing slightly, but as it’s still an early start for a Sunday, Forever Can Wait couldn’t have asked for more.

Over the on Monster stage are today’s best kept secret – Mallory Knox. This is their first-ever festival performance, which for such a young band isn’t surprising, but managing to half-fill the main stage at 3 PM is no mean feat. The Cambridge boys storm the stage and give it their all with the front few rows singing along to every word. Their EP ‘Pilot’ is seems to have been downloaded by half the people here and the upcoming release of their debut won’t go unnoticed. The big sounding drums and punktastic guitars whip up a frenzy whilst lead vocalist Mikey Chapman dives head first into powerful ‘Resuscitate’ before closing on the hook-laden ‘Oceans’. For a band who have never played a show of this scale before, they seem all too comfortable at the task and are destined to do it again and again.

A short trip outside and into the other building sees Polar. destroy the Guitar Central stage with their stripped down, ball-busting hardcore punk. The crowd are going ballistic as the pit swells and stretches the length of the room, full of headbanging, throwdowns and good ol’ moshing. The only word to describe the atmosphere is carnage, and that’s exactly what Polar. want. Rushing their way through ‘Armed to the Teeth’ and ‘Smile You Son of a Bitch!’, the whirlwind left behind will be ringing in Southampton’s ears for days to come.

(Feed The Rhino were next on stage but they were so bloody good they’re my ‘F’ letter in the Alphabet Tour. Keep your eyes peeled for the full review.)

Unfortunately the crowd for Aliases doesn’t match up to the previous two bands. The room that was previously full of sweaty bodies has decided to take a breather for this one, which hinders the performance slightly. The technicalities of the Mancunian quintet are showcased fantastically, but despite their best efforts the crowd just isn’t as intense as previously: possibly too high up the bill?

Over on the Southampton Music stage Max Raptor are giving it their all to the 100-or-so people in attendance who haven’t popped in for a pint and a sit down, and their final track ‘The King is Dead’ riles up the crowd perfectly for the final stretch of the day.

Back at the heavier Guitar Central stage, the Hertfordshire hardcore mob Heights have brought the entire throwdown contingent to party with them. Making a blistering racket that at times make the security look physically in pain, Heights give Takedown all they can muster. Covered in sweat and spit, the five noiseniks scream their lungs to dust whilst trying their hardest to get into the crowd (something the security are only too keen to stop from happening). Battling their way through fan favourites ‘Forget’ and ‘Oceans’ as well as the anthemic ‘The Lost and Alone’, Takedown are left numb, shaken and ecstatic.

But who could round off such an amazing day of partying? The ultimate festival band – Skindred, pictured at top. (Not sure logistically how they managed this appearance, as I saw them listed on the SXSW schedule at a Welsh music showcase last week – Ed.) Named as Britain’s best live band repeatedly by some of the UK’s biggest rock music mags (and nominated for Best Live Band at this year’s Golden Gods), the pioneers of ragga-metal bring the noise and the hits. Walking on stage to a remix of the ‘Star Wars Imperial March’, Benji Webbe instantly owns the room. Standing in front of his cohorts in a white suit complete with union flag accessories, Skindred launch into a raucous rendition of ‘Ratrace’ that gets the jam-packed room bouncing to the rafters. It’s nothing but a greatest hits set from the Welsh wailers complete with various sound clips and mashups, merging Metallica‘s ‘Sad but True’ with their own ‘Trouble’ gives the metalheads the kickstart they need to get the pit moving. But nothing compares to the smash hit ‘Nobody’ that forces the entirety of Takedown onto their feet and screaming the lyrics until their throats bleed.

As Takedown is brought to a close and Southampton’s alternative population wander back to various buses and taxis, the scene is one of joy and exhaustion as one of the first festivals of the year comes to a close. An amalgamation of hardcore, punk, metal and rock has brought some of the hottest bands in the UK to one of the most unlikely venues, which will hopefully be back next year bigger and badder than before.

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3 Responses

[…] alt-rockers Mallory Knox recently played their first ever festival show at Southampton’s Takedown Festival to a fantastic reception. I caught up with frontman Mikey Chapman and bassist Sam Douglas to find […]

[…] 2012 at 11:00 am/**//**/ Following the band’s raucous performance at this year’s Takedown festival, I caught up with Feed the Rhino‘s frontman for a quick chat about his band, the new album […]

[…] 4th April 2012 at 1:00 pm/**//**/ Although not headlining the Guitar Central stage at Takedown, Feed the Rhino are the most highly anticipated band of the day. Having taken a well-earned hiatus […]

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